Choosing a university


Is university the right choice?

Before choosing a university, sit down with your teen and decide whether university is the next best step for them.

University isn’t for everyone. Your teen might dream about becoming a chef, a hairdresser, or a police officer. These are important and worthy careers.

There are a lot of good reasons to attend university, not limited to the fact that a university degree has increasingly become a minimum requirement for many jobs and professions.

A university-level education will develop your teen’s intellectual independence and their ability to interpret, understand and evaluate information.

At the same time, it will teach them self-reliance, personal responsibility and a range of social and communication skills.

University is the right choice for a lot of people, but it’s not the only choice. Your teen should not attend university simply because they think it is what they are expected to do.

Make sure your teen has thought through their options and that they have a strong and well-founded reason for attending university.

Which university?

If your teen is ready to choose a university, they will have a lot of things to consider.

A good basic question to ask your teen is, “What do you expect from your time at university?”

Does your teen want to live in a big city or in the country? Do campus clubs or societies interest them? Do they want lots of study options in their first year and then specialise in their second year? What do they think university will be like?

If you can better understand what your teen is looking for and thinking about, you can help them make the right choice.

Asking this question also gives you an opportunity to keep your teen’s expectations realistic.

Generally speaking, when choosing a university consider things like:

  • reputation
  • cost
  • scholarships
  • size
  • facilities
  • access
  • degree options.

Open days

One of the best ways to evaluate your options is to attend a university open day, where you and your teen can get a feel of the university, the people who work there, and its grounds and facilities.  

At our UQ Open Day you can speak with academics, take a campus tour and attend information sessions about studying and life at UQ.

We also host a range of events for prospective students and their parents throughout the year. We’d love to see you there.

Which degree?

Not all universities offer the same degree programs.

For example, we don’t offer film production or podiatry, so if your teen is determined to become a film director or a podiatrist, they might have to choose a different university to UQ.  

In total, we offer nearly 100 undergraduate programs, so it’s very likely we have something that will spark your teen’s curiosity, ambition and passion.

Many of the programs we offer are geared towards a specific career or profession, however, research has shown that about half of all students begin university without a strong idea of what they want to do.

If your teen is undecided, they may want to consider a broad degree program like the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science, which gives them the option of studying lots of different areas. 

Your teen may also want to browse our programs based on field of study. They might spot a program they hadn’t previously considered, or discover something new.

We also encourage your teen to meet with their school’s guidance officer or careers counsellor. They might be able to point your teen in the right direction.

Your teen will have to meet prerequisite requirements for specific programs to ensure that they have an appropriate level of knowledge to be successful in their degree. If they can't meet the prerequisites before applying, there are options such as bridging programs which can help them get up to speed.

It’s also worth remembering that your teen isn’t “locked in” to a UQ degree. If they begin a degree and realise their interests lie elsewhere, they can apply to switch UQ programs and possibly receive credit.

Likewise, if your teen doesn’t get into their first QTAC preference, they can undertake a tertiary admissions pathway by completing a year of full-time study in an alternative program at UQ.

Your teen may also be eligible for a number of schemes and special-entry programs to boost their chances of getting a place at UQ. 

How much will it cost?

The total cost for university depends on the degree your teen studies, but there are several options for financial assistance. Along with undergraduate scholarships, your teen may be eligible for one of several Australian Government loan schemes, which will help them to pay for their degree. There are also income support payments available for eligible students through Centrelink to assist with costs during their studies.

Why choose UQ?

There are a lot of great reasons to choose UQ.

One reason is that we offer the widest range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the state.

We also consistently enrol the brightest minds in Queensland, which means your teen will be studying and socialising with smart and switched-on peers.

In the classroom, our academics strive to create an engaging and stimulating learning environment – UQ has won more Australian Awards for University Teaching than any other university in Australia.

When our academics aren’t teaching, they’re undertaking world-leading and ground-breaking research

Your teen will learn some of the very latest ideas from teachers and experts who are at the top of their fields.

But it’s not all work all the time – we also want our students to be well-rounded and resilient.

We encourage our students to develop interests beyond the classroom, whether they decide to try a new sport, join a club or society, spend a semester overseas, or just switch-off and relax with a book in the shade.

We’ve also opened a brand new Student Employability Centre, so students can access different resources to prepare for working life.  

But the best reason to choose UQ is that we’d love to meet your teen and help them discover who they might become.

Learn more about UQ

Give UQ a try in high school

University can feel like a big leap, which is why we let high school students test drive life as a UQ student.

  • The Enhanced Studies Program gives eligible high school students the chance to complete a UQ subject during Year 12.
  • The Young Achievers Program provides mentoring and support to high school students who come from a low-income background.
  • The Young Scholars Program is designed to develop the leadership qualities of high-achieving high school students. Some students may be eligible for fee waivers and travel bursaries for the program.

Your teen also has the option of enrolling in Summer Semester as a “non-award student” to complete a UQ subject.

By trying UQ before committing to a degree, your teen can see whether we’re the best fit for their future.

Is your teen ready for uni?

Recent research has linked gap years with better performance at university.

A survey of more than 900 Australian students showed that students who took a break were more successful in their studies than students who entered university straight from high school.

This was especially the case if students used their gap years in productive ways: to learn a new language, volunteer, work, travel, or broaden their social and personal development. 

University study requires motivation, independence, confidence, and self-management.

Lots of students who attend uni have to juggle their university commitments along with day-to-day responsibilities relating to accommodation and employment.

University might be your teen’s first experience of self-reliance and the pressures of adult life, where they take full responsibility for managing their own workload and motivating themselves (along with cooking, cleaning, paying bills and rent, and having to get lots of different things done).

If you think your teen might benefit from a break between high school and university, we encourage you to consider the option of a gap year and to discuss this with them. 

Your teen has the option of deferring a UQ offer for up to one year. 

More information is available about deferring a QTAC offer

Graduation hat icon

Learn to see the potential of the world. Gain the knowledge to make it better.

Need help button